The Tahoe Keys Marina is facing repercussions for illegally grading some land on state-owned property near Venice Drive in South Lake Tahoe.
On Thursday, the marina removed vegetation on less than half-an-acre of California Tahoe Conservancy property as a means to create more parking for the South Tahoe Wooden Boat Classic.
The actions were committed without a permit and are alleged as violating Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, City of South Lake Tahoe and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board codes and ordinances, including trespassing, the Conservancy confirmed.
The marina also had to remove some fences in order to access the area.
“There was another site being considered (for parking), then they picked this site, which was not on the table at all,” said Conservancy spokeswoman Victoria Ortiz, adding. “It’s a very unusual circumstance.”
Marina front desk manager Chad Holdren said the incident was “a total misunderstanding.”
The marina personnel had talked to the conservancy about creating additional parking for the show, but the two had apparently been talking about two separate locations, he said.
“According to Robert (Spinnato, marina general manager), we thought we had permission to go ahead and do it,” Holdren said.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is investigating the incident and is working on building a written account of events, said Julie Regan, chief of external affairs. A cease-and-desist order was issued Friday.
With the investigation ongoing, it is unclear what penalties the marina is facing. However, the Governing Board will ultimately decide them.
Until then, TRPA has asked that temporary Best Management Practices be installed to stabilize the site. The conservancy said it planned on doing just that Monday.
“We are working with Tahoe Keys Marina and the regulatory agencies to negotiate course of action to remedy the damage,” Conservancy Executive Director Patrick Wright said in a statement.
The Conservancy is paying to install the BMPs, but Ortiz said the bill would likely be forwarded to the marina.
Holdren said the marina would like to help repair damage done to the land, and that it has apologized to the Conservancy for its actions.
“We’re just waiting for the conservancy to get a hold of us and let us know what we can do,” he said.